Hello everyone, this is Laurent Breillat for Learn Photographyand welcome to this new video!
In photography, there is a fashion: that of making videos or articles on “the 5 mistakes of beginners in photography”. To tell you the truth, I even wrote a paper on the subject in 2011……which is about an eternity. I forgot about him, I found him when I was preparing this video, but good news: I’m still pretty much okay with what I put in..
Because most of the time, you’re given a bit of a boatish mistake, like “forgetting to charge your battery or empty your memory card”. So OK, in itself, these are beginner’s mistakes, but hey, normally you make them ONE time, and then you learn the lesson and it’s over. And often, when you’re watching the video, you’ve actually already made the mistake.
Today, I wanted to give you the REAL 5 mistakes that beginners make in photography. Let’s go!
1. Not knowing your purpose
The first mistake is not knowing WHY we’re doing the picture.. Indeed, depending on one’s personal objective, one’s advice will be more or less relevant, and especially the choices one makes will not be the same.
Basically, there are 3 profiles that exist. I pick up the idea in Petite Philosophie Pratique de la Prise de Vue Photographique, it’s a very interesting reading.
The first thing you have to understand is… photography is part of a triad.Come on in:
1. The object photographed
2. The photographer
3. The spectator
An amateur photographer will fade away in favour of the object being photographed.. He tries to make a faithful representation of it, if possible aesthetically, but not so much to integrate his personality into it. This is the “souvenir photo”. That’s where we almost all started, myself included.
A professional photographer is going to step aside in favor of the spectator.…which is his client. He is in a commercial practice, where the photo must first of all respond to the client’s order, or sell itself if he makes photos by himself to sell them later (for example a stock photographer). In this second case, one tries to guess what will please, but it remains focused on the spectator.
Finally, an artist photographer (or author, as you prefer) will put his singularity and personality first.before the object being photographed, or public notice.
Note that I don’t put an absolute hierarchy between these practices…. I make souvenir photos myself regularly, and I’ll be glad that there are professional photographers the day I get married, because I’ll need them. ^^
It’s just that for my personal practice, it’s artistic photography that interests me, and that’s why I talk about it more and that I’m trying to get you to try and move in that direction a little bit. 🙂
And so, the first mistake is not knowing what your goal is between those three.. Because… if you are not aware of this distinction, you will sometimes follow advice that is of no interest to you. If you are in an amateur or artistic approach, you have absolutely no need for several thousand euros of professional equipment. Nor to become an expert in Photoshop (well, some artists use Photoshop, but it’s not mandatory, it depends on the approach).
Note that this goal may change over time. It’s just that you have to have this distinction in mind to know which profile the advice we give you is aimed at (in most cases, let’s say it’s for amateurs and pros).
2. Equipment is not an obstacle
The second mistake is to think that the equipment will solve your photographic problems…. In most cases, that’s not the sticking point.
It can be if you have very specific needs. It’s hard to pet a 50 mm for example. But beyond the obvious, most of the time it’s not your equipment that’s responsible.
If you are an amateur, any reflex or hybrid not too expensive has today performances largely sufficient for the photo souvenir.. If your pictures aren’t good enough, it’s probably more from you. The good news is that it’s cheaper to solve, especially since once you have the skills, you keep them. Your skills don’t break down or become obsolete.
If you are in a professional process, you may need equipment. But don’t think that this is the solution to everything: is your hardware really blocking you? Have you been unable to take some pictures of a wedding because your equipment is not good enough in low light? Or are you just trying to convince yourself that more equipment will mean more customers?
And if you’re into the artistic process, clearly you’re not.. The greatest photographers in history have created their works with cameras probably less powerful than yours (at least on objective criteria).
Then, as I said in my video, “There’s no such thing as a bad camera.” perhaps one tool will be better suited to a project than another.. But for that, you have to determine a project already, and I know that for many it’s a bigger obstacle than the material.
3. Bulimic knowledge
The third mistake is bulimia nervosa.
I often read that one of the mistakes beginners make is not to train. I think that’s true for some people, but I don’t think they’ll ever see a video that says it’s a mistake not to train. Because if they’re watching “The 5 Mistakes of the Beginning Photographer”, they’re just… they’re training.
On the other hand, I also see the opposite happening…and not just in pictures, by the way. When you train in a field, you may need to ingest a lot of knowledge, and that’s normal. Of course you need to learn photography, it’s literally the name of my channel. ^^
BUT I think that among a part of the beginners and photo amateurs, there is a kind of bulimia of knowledge. As if the next tutorial was going to be THAT one that was going to change EVERYTHING, the last piece of the puzzle of knowledge that had to be retrieved to finally make good pictures.
It is absolutely MUST listen to 125 tutos on the same subject, as if listening to a new person talking about the opening would bring something new (whereas well, spoiler: everything has been said on the subject).
At some point, what will help you progress the most is to put these tips into practice, to make mistakes, correct them, and start again.. Over and over again. And that’s it.
I’m not telling you to stop watching videos, reading articles, books, or doing training. I’m just saying, do it on something you haven’t mastered yet.. Avoid watching content on a topic you already know, just because it’s new. There won’t be anything new to say about exposing a photo, eh, it’s not going to change, it’s been the same since the beginnings of photography. 😉
My point is to choose where you need to give your attention. What’s really going to get you anything?
4. Do not filter notices
The fourth mistake is not filtering the opinions you get on your images. Because they do, 100% of beginners want to have opinions on their photos to find out if they have any flaws. I talked about it recently in my video “the perfect picture doesn’t exist”.
Yes, it is, when you start out, you want to progress and be reassured about your images, so you’ll ask for advice.. The place where they are most available today are probably Facebook groups and forums, simply because there’s a lot of people on it.so statistically you’re gonna get more.
And also because content creators (bloggers and/or youtubers) with a big audience usually don’t have time to give everyone their opinion.so it has to be strangers giving them away anyway.
The problem with Facebook groups is obvious: we don’t know who gives their opinion, so it may or may not be relevant.. In ALL Facebook groups (yes, even mine), you’ll get irrelevant reviews. Because not only does not everyone have the same competence, but also not everyone has the same prism.
Remember the first point: someone with the prism “professional photography” will give you his opinion in this frame. But if you don’t care and you have a more artistic practice, it won’t necessarily be relevant to you.
So, how do you filter the opinions?
1. The first thing is to eliminate the malicious notices…unpleasant, passive-aggressive. They never help, and only lower your self-esteem, which will not help you progress.
It could be an isolated person, or it could be the general atmosphere of a group. That’s why in mine, I fire anyone who’s malicious with others outright, because it’s not going to help you move forward. You can criticize a picture, even if it is objectively very bad, and still have empathy. Elsewhere, people who do this are moderators, what do you want 😉
That said, no matter what group you’re in, if you see a malicious comment from someone, whether it’s in your picture or someone else’s, you can easily block that person. You won’t see their comments afterwards, and it will prevent them from touching you and slowing you down.
2. The second thing is to try to understand whether the person’s criticisms are repeated in a somewhat automatic way without having thought about it. It’s typical of the sect of the rule of thirds that I mentioned recently, by the way: you’re going to get caught because the rule is not respected, but it’s repeated like a parrot, without really a personal reflection behind it, and you’re often going to feel it if you try a little bit to get some justification.
3. Next, you can also use the length of the comment as a guide.. I have rarely seen a 3-word comment without a constructed sentence be constructive for you.
4. 4. Often, relevant comments ask as many questions as they answer.. As I said in my video on “the perfect picture doesn’t exist”, a picture is only flawed if it doesn’t match what you want. Someone who asks you questions is trying to understand you better, and will usually give you a better opinion.. They are often more benevolent people and what they say behind the scenes will be more relevant, because they have taken an interest in you, and what’s more, if they are in this process, it’s probably because they will give a more measured opinion.
5. Finally, pay attention to the sources A good sign is that someone who is going to bother to post a link to an article or video that can help you is less likely to think they have the science infused, and refers to outside sources, which is a pretty good sign.
Of course, this advice does not completely shield you from irrelevant criticism. But let’s say it’s the gestures that will protect you from the majority…. 😉
I’ll take this opportunity to add one more thing: if your goal is artistic, consider asking people on Facebook who are more knowledgeable in the field than people you don’t know.. There are portfolio readings, and you can also try to contact photographers you like: don’t be offended if they don’t answer, they don’t owe you a free review, eh, but you have to dare, you never know!
5. Not being interested in photography
I’m taking the metaphor from Thomas Hammoudi, because it works so well. Do you know anyone who gets into the guitar and isn’t interested in great guitarists? Someone who plays the piano and is not interested in Chopin? Someone who plays the piano and is not interested in Chopin? Someone who plays painting and is not interested in any painter?
JI feel like it’s really only in photography that you see that…. I think it’s because of two things:
1) the very technical entry in the photo As there’s the whole “high-tech hardware” side to it, it also attracts people who are more there for the geek side of things than the actual photo practice itself,
and 2) Very few content creators are interested in the artistic aspect.While in music, you won’t see any guitar channel that doesn’t do at least a tuto to reproduce a song.
Moreover, in music, if you want to play something, you are half obliged to be interested in the style of the musician in question, if you really want to find the sound. In fact, you know.., even without consciously seeking to take an interest in music as an art, you will learn passively about musical trends and how to play them..
Whereas in a photo, you have to go and get them.
And really, when you think about it, it’s quite amazing that a photographer doesn’t know a minimum of the work of the big names in photography, because hardly any guitarist has ever heard of Jimmy Hendrix.
And honestly, it’s not necessarily the fault of those who practice photography. Because if no one tells you about it, you’re not necessarily supposed to guess. You can’t imagine a guitar youtubeur not knowing Hendrix, yet apparently it doesn’t matter if a photo youtubeur doesn’t know an Eggleston or a Meyerowitz (or worse, say he’s not interested…).
In short, you have understood my point of view on this: even those who only want to play the guitar as an amateur for fun need to refer to the greats of music. And it’s no different in pictures.
It’s a big mistake not to take an interest in photography.It’s as if you don’t need it, or as if being a beginner means that you can do without artistic photography in the beginning because you need to learn the technique first. It doesn’t exclude that, actually. You can totally do both at the same time.
I still feel it’s hard to convince you of this, because it’s not a trick with an immediate effect.. You’re not going to look at three pictures of Eggleston and the next day become a great photographer. It’s a way of life that you see the effects after a while. So it’s bound to be harder to sell.
And if you want an easy way to do it, I’ll refer you to my show… Incredible Photographerswhich is a good introduction.
That’s it for today! And you, did you make any mistakes as a rookie that you would have liked to have been warned about? Did you make those mistakes and realize a little late that you should have started before? Share it with us in the commentary below!
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I’ll see you in the next video, and until then, see you soon, and good pictures!